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AT&T Expands AirGig Trials

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AT&T has launched an international trial of its Project AirGig access technology, and also has launched a second trial in the United States.
Unlike a “data over power line” system, AirGig does not actually use the power conductor, but only travels along the exterior of a power line. 
 AirGig, it is hoped, could deliver internet access speeds well over one gigabit per second using a millimeter wave (mmWave) signal guided by power lines. If so, internet access facilities would not require new towers or cables, but would be able to piggyback on existing electrical distribution lines. 
 The first international trial started earlier in 2017 with an electricity provider outside the United States The second U.S. trial recently started in Georgia with Georgia Power. While this trial is located in a rural area, AirGig could be deployed in many areas not served by high speed broadband today – rural, suburban, or urban, AT&T says.

Network Effects Explain Oligopolistic Structure of the Internet

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Oligopolies (functional, rather than enforced by law) now are a key characteristic of most parts of the internet ecosystem. In other words, there are functional "gatekeepers" across most of the ecosystem.
That "winner take all" structure might emerge as the natural consequence of consumer choices, supplier skill and timing.
The biggest driver, though, is that some markets have "network effect" characteristics. That is why the "platform" role is so desirable.
Platforms benefit from scale, and grow with increasing scale. That arguably applies for operating systems, access services, devices and apps/
So most markets with scale economics and network effects arguably develop in the same way.
The point is that markets where winners are able to exploit network effects virtually always leads to oligopoly outcomes. Regulators can break up such markets, but to the extent that network effects actually matter, concentration always will reoccur.
In the appl…

Ericsson to Supply Verizon Early 5G Deployments

Ericsson will supply Verizon with 5G radio infrastructure, allowing Verizon to launch commercial “pre-5G” networks in 2018. The expected deployments will include the launch of fixed wireless services in a few U.S. cities.
That is important for several reasons. Although the creation of new apps, services and revenues is a hoped-for development for 5G, that expectation has existed for 3G and 4G as well, where service providers expected new use cases and apps  to develop, but were not sure precisely what would happen.
That remains the case for 5G as well, where the key issue is the business model: what incremental new revenue sources will develop?
Verizon, learning in part from history, is following a known deployment path. As 4G initially was launched in the first markets to support computing devices, not mobile voice, so Verizon will launch 5G as a platform for fixed wireless internet access, and later add the full mobility network functions. That allows a scaling of investment and match…

More Fixed Network ISP Competition Seems to be Coming

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The fixed network internet access duopoly possibly is going to be challenged in new ways over the coming decade. New forms of mobile competition are going to develop, including both direct mobile substitution and mobile-enabled fixed wireless. Also, some new fixed network competitors are likely to enter the markets as well.
At least in principle, more than 100 Colorado communities could see some form of municipal broadband network created, as voters in those communities have approved such moves. That clears a legal hurdle, but now means each community will grapple with the business model.
Longmont, Colo. already has built out a portion of its planned gigabit internet access network, aided by that city’s ownership of a municipal power utility, meaning Longmont owns rights of way, distribution facilities, rolling stock and other assets helpful to creating a city-wide internet access network.
In Centennial, Colo., private internet service provider Ting Internet will piggyback on a new gover…

Some Want Faster Next Generation Network Investment, But Also Keeping Legacy Copper

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As much as most people would agree that robust supply of new next generation networks is a good thing for industry, consumers, government and education, as a practical matter many of those same constituencies oppose retiring legacy copper networks in favor of optical or other next-generation platforms.
It is not a new problem. Most consumers would say they want faster, more robust mobile networks with better coverage. But owners of real estate also frequently and normally oppose placement of the new tower sites that would bring such better coverage and performance.
Somewhat paradoxically, the same entities that can be expected to criticize too slow deployment of optical fiber and other advanced platforms also often argue against those investments, arguing that it is better to keep copper in place.
Telcos argue they need to--and just “want to”--replace high maintenance copper lines with lower-maintenance optical fiber connections (increasingly, they will argue that higher-cost fixed li…

How Much Demand for Live TV Streaming?

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Some 11 percent  of all streamers pay for live streaming television, a study by Cogent Reports has found. That might be viewed as a data point suggesting there is relatively little interest in live video streaming. That might not be the case.
Potential demand for live video streaming is getting to be a tale of multiple markets. There is the traditional TV content market, but there also is a faster-growing live video content “in the context of social media use” segment of the market. It is easier to measure “demand” in the former segment, than in the latter segment.
In the traditional video content business, there are further nuances. There arguably is less demand for live news programming; much more demand for live sports programming and high demand for live streaming of blockbuster events (sports and entertainment events).
But much of the growth in live streaming has to do with social media usage, not traditional linear TV viewing.
In 2017, most live streaming arguably is in the cont…

App Store Blocks Use of Templates

New rules for Apple’s App Store state that “apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” That, some argue, is going to affect many small business apps that use lawful templates to create features from app assembly suites or app-creation tools.

Apple has the right to create its own rules. The point is simply that, increasingly, we see new examples of app, device or commerce providers acting as content gatekeepers. That is not a particular issue of somehow restricting “internet freedom,” but simply business decisions those firms are free to make.
Bits are not “treated equally,” anywhere in the internet supplier ecosystem. Almost nothing in the app, content, platform or device parts of the ecosystem actually treat bits or any other parts of their business practices and business models “equally.”
There are all sorts of reasons for that, including the drive to create distinctiveness and uniqueness, create new features and capabilities.
That is simp…